As Leaders, How Is History Relevant to Us Today?
I hated History in school.
I did not see its relevance. Remembering names, dates, and obscure events was intellectually annoying to my young mind.
Fast forward 20 years…
Now I love history! Not only for the pleasure and intrigue of discovering great stories, battles, and tragedies, but for the chance to unpack valuable lessons from humanity, society, and cultures. As a responsible citizen and student of leadership, I want to learn everything I can about the rich heritage of our human history.
But how is history relevant to us today?
I once heard an interview with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia, who favors a more strict interpretation of The Constitution. He was asked why The Constitution should be venerated. He said that only a few times in the history of men, have learned persons of such a caliber existed and come together to create such a magnificent document.
I thought, “Really? Aren’t we smarter now with our prestigious universities, abundance of immediate information, and so many people with PhD’s, MD’s, JD’s?” We may not like to think about it, but the engine for the human experience has not been upgraded for thousands of years. It is the human mind, complete with its unbridled emotions, prejudices, perspectives, assumptions, and creativity.
While the narrative of our human story takes many twists and turns, the humanity of it remains the same. Our journey is directed by the human mind, clothed by the human spirit, and subject to human error in thought and decision-making.
Consider the American story. As an immigrant to the United States, I am fascinated by its history. It’s a beautiful story of a people who in just over two centuries have built a nation based on three documents: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. And in relatively no time they became a world power—a beacon of liberty and hope.
How did this happen?
Who were the key people who brought us to this place?
What were the pivotal points that propelled us forward and tipping points that sent us into crisis?
I am fascinated with all the relevant lessons our history has to offer. Not only as a passionate leader, but also as a citizen of this great nation and a citizen of Earth, I want to learn everything I can from our rich history.
So as I aim to study American history, my target is to learn from its inception: Who were the people and their leaders? What was the culture and its driving influences? What shaped public opinion? What drives economic engines? What role does human morale and ethics play in history? What is liberty, and how has our understanding of it evolved over time?
I hope you will join me on this quest to learn from history. But let’s do it on our terms. This is not grade school. You are not 15 anymore (and if you are, trust me you should do this!). Let’s learn about our humanity, our heritage of leadership, and our history of successes and failures together—with passion and purpose!
In future posts I will explore different historical periods, events, and trends as I see and understand them. Please note that I am not a historian by training. So feel free to weigh in if you disagree with the facts or conclusions. I welcome your comments below.
I believe so much in our ability to transcend our humanity with God’s help, and by seeking the knowledge and wisdom of the men and women who have lived and led before us.
What better way to seek wisdom than by reflecting on our journey…